The United Kingdom on Friday reported 35,707 new COVID-19 cases, the highest in over five months. On Thursday, the UK had recorded 32,551 cases. On average, the country has been reporting about 410 cases per million people over the past week, one of the highest cases in the world per capita.
Amid this, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said that almost all COVID-19 restrictions are set to end on July 19, which he has brandedas “Freedom Day”. He said the step would eliminate formal limits on social contact, the instruction to work from home, and mandates to wear face masks. Reportedly, after the restrictions are eased, nightclubs will be allowed to reopen and there will be no limits on capacity of hospitality venues.
However, the plan was greeted with mixed reactions. Keir Starmer, the leader of the main opposition, accused Johnson of putting the country on course for a "summer of chaos and confusion" with his plans.
Now, the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges (AMRC) has warned against easing the restrictions. Prof Helen Stokes-Lampard, chair of AMRC, said that "there seems to be a misapprehension that life will return to normal from then (July 19), and that we can throw away all the precautions, and frankly, that would be dangerous." "We all want to make sure that the public is fully aware that this pandemic is far from over and that when the 19th comes, what we need is a responsible approach and a very cautious approach to relaxing restrictions," she added.
Moreover, over 4,000 scientists, doctors, nurses and other professionals have said in a letter published on Wednesday that lifting the restrictions is a "dangerous and unethical experiment". "The government should delay complete re-opening until everyone, including adolescents, have been offered vaccination and uptake is high, and until mitigation measures, especially adequate ventilation and spacing are in place in schools,” they wrote. “Until then, public health measures must include those called for by the World Health Organization (universal mask wearing in indoor spaces, even for those vaccinated)," the letter read.
Meanwhile, Johnson is likely to take a final decision regarding the lifting of curbs on July 12 after considering all the data, reported BBC.